Alcohol in Westminster has long been a feature of the culture, but a string of drunken incidents have made headlines of late, writes POLITICO.
The drinking culture in Westminster has come under attack in a report from a parliamentary watchdog.
In its fifth annual report summarizing the last year, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme — the U.K. parliament’s official complaints system — said that the “culture of drinking in Westminster” was a “frequent factor” in conduct-breaching incidents in the parliamentary bars, at external events, and in post-work socializing.
The report also said that alcohol added to issues of “intimidating behavior like shouting and swearing.”
The report added that alcohol has meant some investigations have been made difficult, with poor witness recall one example of the problems faced.
Alcohol has long been a feature of the culture in Westminster, but has recently come into the spotlight as a string of drunken incidents have made headlines.
Labour MP Neil Coyle had the Labour whip temporarily suspended, and he later faced a a five-day suspension from the House of Commons, after hurling drunken abuse in two separate incidents that breached parliament’s harassment rules.
Coyle engaged in “foul-mouthed and drunken abuse” of a parliamentary assistant and used “abusive language with racial overtones” toward a journalist, according to the independent panel, which reviews complaints against MPs.
In June 2022, Conservative MP Chris Pincher resigned as the government’s deputy chief whip after the Sun newspaper alleged he had drunkenly groped two men at a private members’ club.
In a resignation letter to then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Pincher admitted to having “drank far too much” and “embarrassed myself and other people” on a chaotic night out in central London.
Multiple current and former MPs have previously told POLITICO that there are people tasked with “minding” problematic MPs who may behave inappropriately as a result of over-drinking.
… English laws are adopted "in an elevated state". Charming…
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